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The Best Libraries Ski Towns Have to Offer

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If you think print is dead, think again. Libraries are flourishing nationwide, including in ski towns. And while alpine hamlets notoriously attract riffraff, they're also a magnet for creative types like writers, artists, and musicians, as well as deep-pocketed patrons of the arts. The results are some pretty badass libraries housed in everything from historic buildings to new, state-of-the-art structures. Mapped here are the best libraries the mountains have to offer. Besides books, you'll find classes, lectures, films, loads of kid's activities, even Pilates.

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1. The Community Library

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415 Spruce Ave
Ketchum, ID 83340
(208) 726-3493
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The exterior may not be anything special, but inside there’s a fantastic children’s section (including a kid-friendly, app-loaded “tethered” iPad, homework room, and computers), big fireplaces, and an impressive archive of former resident Ernest Hemingway’s works. There’s also a dedicated Regional History Department, and tech classes, guitar circles, film showings, and historical and environmental talks.

2. Park City Library

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1255 Park Avenue
Park City, UT 84060
(435) 615-5600
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Trivia: Park City’s library was in existence before Utah had statehood. Originally located in the basement of the Congregation Church, the current regal structure was originally the Miner’s Hospital. Seventy-eight years later, in 1982, it was rededicated as the town library. Today, the comfy, oak-furnished building is home to 70,000 print books, as well as e-books, audio-visual materials, and free public computers. There’s also a Teen Advisory Group that helps to develop art-minded programs and activities for their peers.

3. Carbondale Branch Library

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320 Sopris Avenue
Carbondale, CO 81623

This gorgeous, LEED-“inspired,” 14,000-square-foot library opened in July of 2013. It features green design details like Colorado beetle kill shelving and ceiling beams; water-saving toilets and faucets; south and west-facing, 21-foot-high windows overlooking Mt. Sopris; xeric landscaping with gray water irrigation; triple E glass; a 97% high-efficiency natural gas boiler for most heating; recycled content carpet and exterior pavers, and LED and compact fluorescent lighting. New this spring are solar panels. Functional art like service desks and benches have been crafted by local artisans. Of note, the funding for the building came from Garfield County property tax, roughly 60-percent of which comes from natural gas drilling. Way to offset.

4. Basalt Public Library

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14 Midland Avenue
Basalt, CO 81621

For a sleepy little town, Basalt’s library’s got it going on. This airy, LEED Silver-certified, 20,050-square-foot space has an heirloom Seed Lending Library, which is supported by the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute and serves as a statewide model to help promote genetic diversity in plants. Patrons check out high-altitude- resistant seeds for six months (they can also donate), in conjunction with gardening classes, seed harvesting instruction, and a food/seed exchange. There’s also rotating exhibits by local artists, an active music program (in conjunction with the Aspen Music School), book clubs, computer classes, talks by local authors, and a stellar Children’s Department. The focal point are the massive, floor-to-ceiling windows facing the Roaring Fork River. Grab a cozy front-row armchair (there’s also a fireplace) and stay awhile.

5. Old Rock Community Library

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504 Maroon Avenue
Crested Butte, CO 81224
vivaboo

6. Wilkinson Public Library

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100 W. Pacific Ave.
Telluride, CO 81435
(970) 728-4519
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Sangres.com

7. Stowe Free Library

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90 Pond Street
Stowe, VT 05672
active rain

1. The Community Library

415 Spruce Ave, Ketchum, ID 83340

The exterior may not be anything special, but inside there’s a fantastic children’s section (including a kid-friendly, app-loaded “tethered” iPad, homework room, and computers), big fireplaces, and an impressive archive of former resident Ernest Hemingway’s works. There’s also a dedicated Regional History Department, and tech classes, guitar circles, film showings, and historical and environmental talks.

415 Spruce Ave
Ketchum, ID 83340

2. Park City Library

1255 Park Avenue, Park City, UT 84060

Trivia: Park City’s library was in existence before Utah had statehood. Originally located in the basement of the Congregation Church, the current regal structure was originally the Miner’s Hospital. Seventy-eight years later, in 1982, it was rededicated as the town library. Today, the comfy, oak-furnished building is home to 70,000 print books, as well as e-books, audio-visual materials, and free public computers. There’s also a Teen Advisory Group that helps to develop art-minded programs and activities for their peers.

1255 Park Avenue
Park City, UT 84060

3. Carbondale Branch Library

320 Sopris Avenue, Carbondale, CO 81623

This gorgeous, LEED-“inspired,” 14,000-square-foot library opened in July of 2013. It features green design details like Colorado beetle kill shelving and ceiling beams; water-saving toilets and faucets; south and west-facing, 21-foot-high windows overlooking Mt. Sopris; xeric landscaping with gray water irrigation; triple E glass; a 97% high-efficiency natural gas boiler for most heating; recycled content carpet and exterior pavers, and LED and compact fluorescent lighting. New this spring are solar panels. Functional art like service desks and benches have been crafted by local artisans. Of note, the funding for the building came from Garfield County property tax, roughly 60-percent of which comes from natural gas drilling. Way to offset.

320 Sopris Avenue
Carbondale, CO 81623

4. Basalt Public Library

14 Midland Avenue, Basalt, CO 81621

For a sleepy little town, Basalt’s library’s got it going on. This airy, LEED Silver-certified, 20,050-square-foot space has an heirloom Seed Lending Library, which is supported by the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute and serves as a statewide model to help promote genetic diversity in plants. Patrons check out high-altitude- resistant seeds for six months (they can also donate), in conjunction with gardening classes, seed harvesting instruction, and a food/seed exchange. There’s also rotating exhibits by local artists, an active music program (in conjunction with the Aspen Music School), book clubs, computer classes, talks by local authors, and a stellar Children’s Department. The focal point are the massive, floor-to-ceiling windows facing the Roaring Fork River. Grab a cozy front-row armchair (there’s also a fireplace) and stay awhile.

14 Midland Avenue
Basalt, CO 81621

5. Old Rock Community Library

504 Maroon Avenue, Crested Butte, CO 81224
vivaboo
504 Maroon Avenue
Crested Butte, CO 81224

6. Wilkinson Public Library

100 W. Pacific Ave., Telluride, CO 81435
Sangres.com
100 W. Pacific Ave.
Telluride, CO 81435

7. Stowe Free Library

90 Pond Street, Stowe, VT 05672
active rain
90 Pond Street
Stowe, VT 05672